Family Feud

Advanced treatment option relieves longstanding leg pain.

The color of your eyes, the shape of your nose and the depth of your hairline are not the only characteristics you can inherit from your parents. Certain ailments or medical conditions can be inherited as well, and Patricia Alatia is proof that varicose veins are one of them.

Advanced treatment option relieves longstanding leg pain

Patricia Alatia

“My grandmother had varicose veins, and I’m sure her mother and her grandmother had them as well,” Patricia relates. “Even my daughter has them now, so it’s definitely something that runs in my family.”

Patricia’s run with the swollen, ropey and often painful malady has been going on for years. And for years she put off doing something about it. Then, a little more than a year ago, one particularly nasty and painful varicose vein forced her hand.

“It was on the front of my right leg,” Patricia explains. “It hurt just to stand, and the pain was like a stinging feeling. When the pain started to get worse and constant, I went to see my primary care physician, who gave me a referral.”

The referral that Patricia, 80, received was for Vascular Interventional & Vein Associates. That’s where she met the institute’s founder and president, Pranay T. Ramdev, MD, a board-certified and fellowship-trained vascular surgeon.

“Patricia is quite typical of the patients we see with varicose veins,” Dr. Ramdev informs. “She came to us complaining about how bad these thick, bulging veins looked and that they hurt her a lot, which is very symptomatic of the problem.

“Varicose veins can occur in the arms or other areas, such as the abdominal wall, but we mostly see them in the legs. And they are much more common in women than they are in men, especially women who have worked in a standing profession.

“Teachers, nurses, chefs, bakers, or police officers walking a beat are among those most prone to varicose veins. Also, women who have been pregnant and those with a family history of them tend to have a predisposition to developing these varices.”

Patricia’s family history is filled with women who had little choice but to suffer through the pain and discomfort caused by varicose veins because the only treatment for them back then was what Dr. Ramdev refers to as “fairly major” surgery.

“The procedure was called vein stripping, and it was always done in a hospital under general anesthesia,” Dr. Ramdev educates. “The doctor would make a large incision in the leg and forcibly remove the vein, which often left large scars.”

Micro Over Macro

“The technology has changed tremendously in recent years, however, and now we can remove the veins right here in our office through a procedure in which the doctor makes a micro incision that is so small, you don’t even need sutures to close it.

“The procedure is called a microphlebectomy, and we typically give the patient a little sedation to make them feel comfortable through it. Then, through that little incision, we remove the enlarged veins, called perforator veins, and tie off the connections so that there’s no more flow into them.”

In addition to microphlebectomy, Dr. Ramdev also offers VenaSeal as a treatment option for varicose veins. Recently approved by the FDA, VenaSeal uses a medical glue to seal the defective vein.

Considered the most innovative approach yet for the treatment of varicose veins, the VenaSeal system allows doctors to treat the problem with just one small incision into the vein, thus relieving the patient of the need for multiple needle sticks.

“It’s been used in Europe for quite some time now and was recently approved for use here in the United States by the FDA,’’ Dr. Ramdev says of the VenaSeal treatment. “The benefit is that the glue-like material that’s injected into the main vein we’re trying to close can also get into some of the smaller veins that are causing varicosities of the skins surface.

“That means you only have to numb up the area where you’re entering that main vein, because you don’t have to give anymore injections after that. The one injection will take care of everything and that’s a benefit to the patient, because the only part of these procedures that’s uncomfortable is when you do the injections.

“With most of these vein procedures, you need to inject several areas. With this treatment, however, you can reduce the number of injections from eight or nine to one and still get great results where you’re closing the vein. I think that is where treatment for these veins is going and right now, I’m the only doctor in the area trained on this.”

After hearing Dr. Ramdev explain all the advancements that have been made in the treatment of varicose veins, Patricia agreed to have a microphlebectomy performed on the painful, unsightly vein on her right leg.

The procedure, which took less than an hour to complete, worked wonders. Patricia says her pain disappeared immediately, and after a couple of weeks of healing, her legs looked better than they had in years.

That microphlebectomy would not, however, be the last procedure she would require on that leg.

“One of the problems with varicose veins is that some people have to keep on fighting them,” Dr. Ramdev notes. “Depending on where the varicosities are, additional varicosities can develop. That’s what happened with Patricia.”

Advanced treatment option relieves longstanding leg pain

Patricia has finally been relieved of her longstanding leg pain.

About 18 months after she was treated for that bothersome vein in the front of her right leg, Patricia was back in Dr. Ramdev’s office asking if the same treatment would rid her of a second such vein that suddenly appeared on the outside of the same leg.

“This one hurt more than the first one did,” Patricia relates. “The pain was constant. Whenever I would stand, it hurt the whole time I was on my feet. And the longer I stood, the more intense the pain got. At least I knew exactly where to go for help with this one.”

After another brief consultation with Dr. Ramdev, Patricia agreed to undergo a second microphlebectomy. She opted for that procedure again in part because it is one of the easiest and most effective she’s ever sat through.

“It’s all done on an outpatient basis right there in the doctor’s office, which makes it very convenient,” Patricia explains. “And they didn’t even have to put me to sleep or anything. It was quick and painless.

“I couldn’t really see what they were doing when they were actually removing the veins, but when they were done, they put these little BAND-AID®s on me, and I was out of there within an hour, I’d say.”

Patricia says the two procedures brought her immediate relief from her pain, and adds that she suffered no complications from them. She also likes that the small incisions will not leave her with any unsightly scars.

Dr. Ramdev says the immediate pain relief and aesthetic improvements are only two of the major benefits associated with having the microphlebectomy procedure. Another, he says, is the prevention of further serious medical problems.

“Unlike normal veins, varicose veins are very highly pressurized, which means a little scratch or nick can lead to bleeding,” Dr. Ramdev informs. “And if left untreated, varicose veins can lead to complications that include ulcers forming in the ankle region.

“Those ulcers are far more difficult to treat than the veins themselves, especially with the technology that we have now, so there’s no need to suffer with the aches, pains and heaviness in the legs that typically come with them. We have solutions for those.”

Patricia is proof.

“My legs feel great and look great,” Patricia concludes. “I can’t thank Dr. Ramdev and his staff enough for all that they did for me. They’re great. My only wish is that I would have gone to see them a lot sooner than I did.”

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